Shelcarter
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:50 pm
Location: East Texas Zone 8

HELP my ficus bonsai is slowly dying... I think

I bought a ficus ginseng (I think) a few months ago. When I got it it was full of leaves but after I set it in front of a draft area with minimal sun it lost most of it's leaves. I'm a beginner at all of this but a quick google search told me to place in a window sill with some sun and away from a draft. After moving my bonsai it started growing some leaves back. But then I got the great idea to fertilize with fertilize sticks. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Jobe-s-50-Coun ... od/3047486 I'm including the link to the ones I used. After one stick in the soil the ficus was sprouting new leaves nearly everyday. Then growth just suddenly stopped. There were even some sprouts that just stopped. So I added another stick a few weeks later. But still nothing. My watering is generally once a week but I started noticing the soil wasn't drying out. I live in a hot climate and nothing has changed temp wise inside or outside the house to account for soil staying damp longer. To water, I run water over the soil until it drips out the bottom. I also mist the leaves every day to help with humidity. I was worried about root rot, and over fertilization so this weekend I decided to empty old soil and repot in fresh soil. I may not have the best soil (just a general purpose indoor plants soil) so in the future I may need to remedy that issue. But while repotting I noticed only a few roots coming from the ends of the ginseng tubes. I'm confused if this is normal or if I damaged the roots by overwatering or over fertilizing. I would think there would be lots of roots. So, I repotted but now all my leaves are drooping. Not dropping, but drooping downward and still no new growth. Can someone please help me on how to revive this little guy? Is it stress? If so what shall I do?

I should also add I understand this is a grafted plant. At purchase there was initially 3 main branches. 2 of which, i've now realized by scratching them and finding them black instead of green, are dead. Last thing, I normally have the blinds open behind the plant but closed them to get a good photo.
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imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: HELP my ficus bonsai is slowly dying... I think

Is it sitting in a saucer of water,? empty it out. You need air circulation. Open a window or get a fan. It just needs to be a gentle breeze. It will help dry out the soil. Check the soil with either your finger or a chopstick for moistness. The leaves dropped because you moved the plant. Ficus does not like its' light changed. It is never a good idea to feed a stressed plant.

Water the plant when the soil is almost dry. Take the pot to the sink, flush it well with water. If you have hard water, collect a bucket of water and let it sit out for at least 24 hours and dunk the plant instead. Let the plant drip dry in a tub or sink. If you use a saucer to protect the sill or the floor, wipe it out and keep it dry.
Ficus could use a little more light. Do not move the plant, either just open the blinds for an hour early in the morning and increase the time as long as the plant looks good. Put a sheer curtain in the window to filter the light and keep the plant about 18 inches away from direct light. i don't like the spike fertilizer. I use a slow release fertilizer, osmocote, about 1/2 tsp every 3-4 months. Wait until the plant has leaves before you start feeding.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Shelcarter
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:50 pm
Location: East Texas Zone 8

Re: HELP my ficus bonsai is slowly dying... I think

The leaves haven’t dropped. Some dropped months ago but then I moved the plant to a more lighted area without a breeze and it started thriving. This current issue is the leaves turning downward and the branches sagging.

I get that I may have over watered or stressed it before but my question is what do I do currently with only a few roots and sagging leaves? What causes leaves to still be perfectly green but turn downward? Is it getting too much water or not enough?

Shelcarter
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:50 pm
Location: East Texas Zone 8

Re: HELP my ficus bonsai is slowly dying... I think

Another thing I noticed this morning is the trunk or “root” of the ginseng is soft and not hard. I’m thinking at this point the plant isn’t taking in water because it has very few roots.

imafan26
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Posts: 11121
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: HELP my ficus bonsai is slowly dying... I think

The plant is probably not taking in water because the roots have rotted, especially if the base is soft. If the plant is not able to take up water because of dead roots or because it has not been watered at all, the same thing will happen. Branches become weak and sag or become brittle and leaves will eventually drop as the branches and leaves are not getting water.

If the base is rotted, it may be too late. You can try to take it out of the pot and see how far the rot has spread. If it has already started to travel up the trunk of the tree, it may not be salvageable.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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